Andrew Coulson at the Cato Institute has authored an interesting study tracking academic performance and state spending over 40 years. What does he find? Despite more-than-doubling in inflation adjusted per public school spending, SAT scores have declined by an average of 3 percent while scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have remained essentially flat. Data for North Carolina mirrored the overall findings.
…consistent with those patterns, there has essentially been no correlation between what states have spent on education and their measured academic outcomes. In other words, America’s educational productivity appears to have collapsed, at least as measured by the NAEP and the SAT.
….Not only have dramatic spending increase been unaccompanied by improvements in performance, the same is true of the occasional spending declines by some states. At one time or another over the past four decades, Alaska, California, Florida and New York all experienced multi-year periods over which real spending fell substantially (20 percent or more of their 1972 expenditure levels). And yet, none of these states experienced noticeable declines in adjusted SAT scores – either contemporaneously or lagged by a few years. Indeed their score trends seem entirely disconnected from their rising and falling levels of spending.
How many different ways can you say; money is not the problem.